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Book marketing for indie authors


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Building an author platform to boost book sales.

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Book marketing for indie authors

  2. 2. WELCOME!
  3. 3. CONTENTS BOOK MARKETING State of the Industry 1 The Key to Success 2 Developing a Game Plan 6 Your No. 1 Sales Tool 4 Social Media Outposts 5 Your No. 1 Marketing Tool 3
  4. 4. LINDA FULKERSON Linda Fulkerson has nearly two decades of experience in small business management and marketing. She is the former director of digital services for the largest media group in central Texas and served five years as division training manager during her 9-year stint in the United States Marine Corps. Linda’s writing career began as a freelance magazine features writer. She later moved into the exciting realm newspapers and has held the positions of copy- editor, sports writer, online editor, and online advertising coordinator. In 2013, Linda left her day-job and launched DLF Digital Services LLC. Her company provides a variety of services, including a book marketing graphics segment that creates cover designs and video book trailers. She is a sought-after marketing consultant for authors, speakers, and small business owners, and specializes in website development for authors and speakers. Linda is the author of several nonfiction books, including two coloring books for writers. She recently published her first mystery novel, DEAD BROKE. ABOUT ME
  5. 5. State of the Industry 1 The good news & bad news about book marketing today.
  7. 7. The average U.S. nonfiction book is selling less than 250 copies per year and less than 3,000 copies over its lifetime. Most books today are selling only to the authors’ and publishers’ communities, and most marketing is done by authors, not publishers. THE WORST OF TIMES Average Title Sales are Small Each Book Faces Stiff Competition More New Product Introductions Consumers are spending less time reading. Therefore, people are reading only books that their communities make important. There is no general audience for most nonfiction books. It’s more effective to connect with one’s community than chase after the general public. Even though each book must be acquired, developed, reworked (edited), designed, produced, manufactured, packaged, price, introduced, marketed, warehoused, and sold, no other industry has so many new product introductions as book publishing. Bowker reports over 3 million books were published in the U.S. in 2010. That’s up from 215,777 in 2002. In addition, hundreds of thousands of English-language books are published each year outside the U.S. Number of Books Published has Exploded Print Unit Book Sales are Declining Overall Book Sales are Shrinking Adult nonfiction book sales peaked in 2007 and have declined each year since then, according to BookScan. Bookstore sales also peaked in 2007 and have fallen each year since then, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Despite skyrocketing eBook sales, overall book sales are still falling. In 2011, eBook sales increased by 117.3%, yet the decline in print outpaced the gains of digital sales, resulting in an overall 5.8% decline in book sales. SOURCE: HUFFINGTON POST
  8. 8. Today, anyone with a computer can write and self-publish a book. Access to the book market is no longer concentrated in the hands of big publishing houses. This is great news for those who are passionate about the message they wish to share with others. THE BEST OF TIMES The Playing Field has been Leveled Think Outside the Bookstore Use Your Book to Build Credibility Be creative, resourceful, and go where the competition isn’t. You can also build a cottage industry around your book(s), with spinoffs like videos (eCourses), coffee mugs, T-shirts, calendars, and more. The root word of authority is author. Writing and publishing a book makes you an expert without having a Ph.D. Build your client base. Build name recognition. Get speaking gigs. Sell other products. Touch people’s lives. Make a difference. In 2011, book publishing revenues reached $1,735.3 Billion, a decline of 2.5% from the previous year, but it is still a billion-dollar industry. “That dough is going somewhere - some of it can go to you.” (author Dave Zaboski) There is Money to be Made The Industry is Full of Interesting People Key to Achieving Publishing Success The publishing industry - authors/agents/editors/publishers - are some of the most interesting, fascinating, diverse people you could ever imagine. (Adapted from a quote by publicist Leslie Rossman.) “Achieving publishing success is 5% writing a good book and 95% marketing . . . if you like to get out there and hustle, this is a fun way to make a living.” (authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, Chicken Soup for the Soul series) SOURCE: HUFFINGTON POST
  9. 9. The Key to Success 2 Why do some authors sell so many books and others sell so few?
  10. 10. Most authors have multiple streams that comprise their total platform, including a popular blog, newsletter, speaking engagements, radio/TV shows, podcast, social media, and books. ABOUT AUTHOR PLATFORMS Elements of an author platform Platform-building tips The HUB of an author platform is a website While it’s never “too late” to begin building an author platform, it’s best done before you publish any books. Having your platform established first enables you to sell more copies of your book quickly at the initial launch, which increases your chances of attaining best-seller status in your book’s category. Your author website gives fans a one-stop place to learn about new book releases and get to know you better. Think of your author platform like a wagon wheel. Your website is the center, the hub, where everything comes together. Everything else is a spoke, leading to your website. Just as a physical platform (think: stage) enables a speaker to be visible to his or her audience, an author platform enables writers to reach reach an audience of book buyers. What is an author platform? Why do authors need a platform? My personal publishing story For traditional publishing - an author must prove to potential publishers that his or her books will sell well, so a platform is necessary. A platform is even more essential for indie author/publishers, as without it, you can’t sell books. I wrote my first book back in 2002, and after attempting to sell it for nearly a year, my then-agent told me to first get famous and then pitch the book again. That was when I began building an author platform.
  11. 11. Statistically, a website’s About page receives more traffic than any other page on the site, with the exception of the Home page. While your blog and brand is about the customer/reader, your About page allows you to share about you. MUST-HAVES FOR AN AUTHOR WEBSITE An “About” Page Products/Services Contact Information Showcase your books within your author website and include links to their sales pages at or wherever they are sold. Also, feature any other products and/or services you may offer on your website. One of the federal laws governing commercial websites is the requirement that consumers be able to contact you. You can easily fulfill this through a Contact page on your site. It’s also a good idea to include a downloadable media kit on your author website. Your author website is the most important piece of Internet real estate in your platform-building strategy. You want to make sure you have complete control of your website. Platform- building experts, such as Michael Hyatt, recommend using a self-hosted WordPress site. Ownership/Control Branding Blog Branding can be described as “influencing a memorable response in your target market” and is vital to successful marketing. Branding is not about you or your books - it’s about your audience. Your author website should reflect your brand. A blog helps you develop your author platform and reinforce your brand. It helps position you as an authority in your niche. And, it is hands-down, your best and most cost-effective marketing tool. More about blogs in a few minutes.
  12. 12. Few things are more frustrating than to have a website you’ve worked hard to develop crash or get hacked. Security and backups can be easily managed by using a few excellent WordPress plugins. MUST-HAVES FOR AN AUTHOR WEBSITE Security/Backup System Mobile Responsiveness Legal Stuff As of 2010, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires all commercial websites to be mobile friendly. Google’s algorithm also benefits websites that are mobile responsive. Besides that, over 60 percent of online queries originate from a mobile device, so being mobile friendly benefits your audience. In addition to mobile responsiveness and a Contact page, commercial sites also need to include a Privacy Policy, Terms of Service, and (optional) a Disclaimer. Your website’s testimonial/review page gives potential readers and/or customers (if you offer services in addition to books) an easy pace to browse through statements from others who have read your writing or used your products/services. Testimonials/Reviews Lead-Capture System Optimization While your blog is your number one marketing tool, your lead-capture system is your number one sales tool. We’ll talk more about that in a few minutes. People will only visit your website if they can find it. Optimizing for search engines is one of the best ways to draw traffic to your website. There are two types of SEO - on page and offsite.
  13. 13. Your No. 1 Marketing Tool 3 An author blog is a must for effective book marketing.
  14. 14. The most successful blogs focus on a specific topic. The topic should be broad enough to allow for sustained post publishing, but narrow enough to draw your target audience. MARKETING WITH A BLOG Give Your Blog a Purpose What to Blog About Types of Content The 20/20 method works well for nonfiction authors. List 20 of your readers’ biggest dreams and 20 of your readers’ greatest dreads. Use that list as a base for developing blog posts. For fiction, choose a relevant theme or setting. You can also introduce characters, talk about research trips, etc. Build interest in future books through your blog posts. Blog content can (and should be varied). Include images, video, text, audio, links to relevant content from other bloggers, interviews, lists, how-to posts, Q&A, etc. Each post should focus on one idea. To reach the right person with the right message at the right time. At one time, traditional marketing (advertising, really) was all that was available. Today, online marketing has leveled the playing field, enabling indie publishers/authorpreneurs to compete with the big publishing houses. The Goal of Marketing Benefits of Blogging Tips for Blogging Success Positions you as an expert, enables dialog with your audience, inexpensive, easy to manage, ranks well in search engines, flexible, reinforces your brand, expands your reach and enables you to build your author platform and your email list. Embed it in your website. Use WordPress. Structure it to attract traffic, using both pages and posts. Optimize it for search. Provide value to your readers. Create compelling content. Capture leads. Choose a blog publishing schedule, whether daily, weekly, or somewhere in between. Be consistent, and always post regularly on your selected day(s).
  15. 15. Your No. 1 Sales Tool 4 Email marketing is the secret weapon best-selling authors use to boost book sales quickly.
  16. 16. Nurture your list members by continuing to send them useful, relevant content periodically - perhaps 5-7 times per month. You can send a monthly newsletter only, if you wish, but you don’t want your list members to forget who you are or that they’ve signed up for your list. People are busy. Keep your emails to your list very brief, less than 250 words. Otherwise, subscribers may tire of your content and unsubscribe. BUILDING AN EMAIL LIST Continue to Provide Useful Content Make Periodic Pitches Keep It Legal Every 7-10 emails should include a pitch for your books, products, and/or services. If you continue to provide useful content to your list, they won’t be upset with receiving an occasional sales pitch. Be sure to use a reputable email delivery service and only send to those who have opted in to receive your emails, so you will be in compliance with federal laws governing email marketing. Create a useful, relevant free offer to use as a giveaway to bribe readers into joining your list. Ideas: eBook, Video, Audio File, Coupon, eCourse, Product Previews (such as free chapter of a book), Interview with a relevant person, checklists, action guides, etc. Brainstorm other ideas. Create an Incentive Product Add a Web Form Write Your First Five Emails Add a lead capture web form to all of your site’s landing pages and in your site’s sidebar. Use your autoresponder service to get the web form’s code. Set up your free offer to deliver automatically when someone joins your list. Create a welcome message, which should be delivered immediately with a download link to your free offer. Follow up with your Know-Like-Trust email series.
  17. 17. Social Media Outlets 5 How to use social media to grow relationships and build your author platform
  18. 18. Set aside a few minutes (at least twice per day, if possible) to answer comments and interact with those who have responded to your posts. Thank those who share, retweet, etc., your content. Ask readers to share, like, and comment. USING SOCIAL MEDIA Interact in Person Create Engaging Content Point the Way to Your Website Ask relevant, open-ended questions that your audience will find interesting. Search for “conversation starters” to get ideas and adapt what you find to fit your genre and target audience. Video and images are always popular. Create a hashtag that reflects your brand and use it on your social media posts. Encourage social connections to visit your website. Always have something better for them there, such as the rest of the story, content upgrades, free downloads, etc. Include branded graphics that match your website and keywords that are relevant to your brand. Complete all aspects of your profile on the social media sites you wish to participate on. The most popular sites are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Google+. Complete Your Profiles Go Where Your Audience Is Use an Auto-Scheduling Service It’s challenging to be on all the social profiles at once, but it can be done. The best thing to do is start small and make sure you’re on the social sites where your potential readers hang out. You can always add more sites later after you master the ins and outs of each one. Readers can sniff automation pretty quickly, so you don’t want to automate everything. However, services such as Buffer and HootSuite enable you to write and schedule social posts in advance. Try not to publish the exact same post on every social site.
  19. 19. Developing a Game Plan 6 Putting it all together to create an effective author platform and marketing game plan
  20. 20. Use optimized content to draw readers to your website/blog and use social media, in-person events, podcasts, word-of-mouth, networking with other authors, and other methods to continue to grow your platform. Be sure to include a page near the back of your book to invite readers to join your email list and receive whatever you’re offering as an incentive. YOUR MARKETING GAME PLAN Grow Your Community Use Additional Platform-Building Ideas Sell Your Books! Sponsor events, Attend festivals/trade shows, Network at conferences, Host webinars, Submit press releases for book releases and other events, Give interviews, Talk to civic clubs, Advertising Don’t be shy when it’s time to sell your books, products or services. Your community now knows you, likes you, and trusts you. You’ve built interest in your book and/or your book’s topic through your blog. When your book is about to release, be sure to ask for the sale. Announce your book release via social media (try a Facebook launch party), your blog, your email list, organize a blog tour. Include the previously mentioned must-haves, and begin blogging. Construct Your Author Website Build a responsive email list Create Compelling Content Remember, List-Building is the most important thing you can do to increase and sustain book sales. Period. What makes content compelling? Content should entertain, enlighten, intrigue, and engage your readers. Simply put, compelling content inspires a reader to take action - your most desired action - whether it be purchasing a book, leaving a review, signing up on your email list, or something else. Use specific calls to action so your readers know what you want them to do. With every piece of content you create, ask yourself how you can add more value to your readers.
  21. 21. Includes setup of social media sites with graphics that match your website for the following: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. NEED HELP? HERE’S A SPECIAL OFFER* Branded Social Media Setup Additional Features Exclusive Discount for Attendees Nothing says “buy my book” like a promotional video book trailer, so I’ve included one in this package. Plus, you’ll get a branded media kit, integration with Google analytics, logo design, basic on-page SEO, and business card design. (Hosting/Maintenance available but not included.) Total value of entire package is well over $1400. Cost of the entire package is $899. Package with premium SEO add-on is $1499. Today’s attendees will receive a 20% discount PLUS a complimentary follow-up consultation ($75 value) if you pay the deposit of one-half before October 31, 2016. We will schedule an initial consultation to plan the contents of your entire package. Site builds normally take 2-3 weeks to complete. Built on the WordPress platform using the Genesis framework with a premium mobile-responsive child theme. Includes all pages recommended & required: About Us, Contact, Terms of Service, Privacy Policy, Sitemap, and (optionally, Disclaimer) plus basic WordPress plugin package to enhance your site’s functionality. Professional Author Website Package FREE Video-based training Includes Lead-Capture System Setup All sites include a personalized video walk-through that explains how to best use your new author website. A landing page, web signup form, assistance in developing a client- provided giveaway to entice reader signups, custom cover graphics for your giveaway product, help preparing your first five emails, delivery of monthly newsletter (client must provide content), and list management for up to 500 signups (more are available for an additional fee). * FOR COMPLETE DETAILS, VISIT BOOKMARKETINGGRAPHICS.COM
  22. 22. Q&A